Valve Ups the Ante with the Manila Major

Player-cam in action (youtube screengrab)
Player-cam in action (youtube screengrab) /

While Shanghai may have left us unimpressed, the Manila Major shows us just how enjoyable competitive gaming can be.

After the botched attempt at hosting a major tournament in Shanghai, which left us all tapping our computer screens wondering if the audio problem was on our end, Valve has really pulled out all the stops for the Manila Major. Uninterrupted audio? Das what I’m talkin’ bout, Valve. But wait, in true infomercial fashion, there’s more!

Taking cue from existing major sports, the Manila Major saw an impressive display of split screen technology. I know, right? Groundbreaking. Valve, you know I love you. I really do. But split screen tech has been around for ages, and look at how split screens helped us follow feints, solo pushes, and split-lane pushes. I would also like to commend you on your artistic use of off-screen cameras. For a few minutes there, I actually felt like I was in the Philippines. I could practically smell the players. See what happens when you integrate the tried-and-true while building something new?

But none of us – and I mean not a single one of us – can criticize the superb staff of analysts, commentators, and announcers. In particular, I’m looking at you, SirActionSlacks. It isn’t easy talking with a multi-cultural crowd with varying degrees of English proficiency, but you somehow managed to make enjoyable. I didn’t even cringe once. Well… maybe once. Grumble and complain as I do about Valve’s ridiculous, one might even say lackadaisical approach to running the tournament aspects of DOTA2, I really have to praise them for a slam dunk here.

More than anything, the sharp improvement in the production quality of the Manila Major has us all wondering what’s next. VR is still a ways off, though it promises to be an epic experience. In the meantime, innovations as well as more mainstream techniques can lead fans to an even more enjoyable experience of the digital arena. You heard me. Get on it, Valve.

Some maneuvers have been made to wrangle pop culture icons, like electronic music producer Deadmau5, but we all saw how well that went. In case you missed the fireworks, the artist managed to peeve multiple online communities in a single performance. I’m sure if a quick search on Reddit or Twitter will reveal the finer points. Cover your children’s eyes before you mash that enter key or click your mouse. Innocence must be protected.

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